At the same time as the wife (Kati Outinen) of a Le Havre shoeshiner (André Wilms) falls ill, he decides to help an African kid (Blondin Miguel) who’s in the country illegally. Aki Kaurismäki returns to France after La Vie de Bohéme (1992), and reunites with both Wilms and Evelyne Didi from that film, for a story about the little guy against an inhumane system. Stylized as always, and with obvious Marcel Carné themes (the lead character’s name is an interesting combination…), the movie is very warm and relevant, especially as Europe turns increasingly anti-immigrant, but nothing really stands out.
2011-Finland-France-Germany. 93 min. Color. Produced, written and directed by Aki Kaurismäki. Cast: André Wilms (Marcel Marx), Kati Outinen (Arletty), Jean-Pierre Darroussin (Monet), Blondin Miguel, Elina Salo, Evelyne Didi.